A Thank You Letter To ‘Lady A’ (Guest Post)

David ‘5-1’ Norman
– David ‘5-1’ Norman
tour director, tour manager, production manager and tour accountant.

Dear Lady A, Red Light Management and CAA,

This correspondence is in reference to the recent Pollstar article earlier this week on your name change. I must admit that I never really paid much attention to the connotations of Antebellum, but after reading your words of wisdom and kindness, I appreciate what you’ve done more than you can imagine.
As a person of color having worked in the entertainment industry for over 35 years in all genres of music you’ve definitely opened my eyes to the country industry moving forward and becoming more open-minded.

I’ve been a fan of yours since your first record release and “Hello World”,  “Stars Tonight” and
“Ready to Love Again” are some of my all time favorite songs. You’ve also been an act that I have always wanted to work with along with several other country artists.

I was born into a military family in the UK but have lived the majority of my life here in the States. My father was from South Carolina and he retired at Robins Air Force base in Warner Robins, Georgia. In high school I was in the marching band where we played ‘Dixie’ as our fight song. I was young and totally unaware of the relevance of that song towards people of color and like you, I’m also regretful and embarrassed.

No matter your political affiliation and how you were raised, with what’s going on in our country presently is nothing new for a person such as myself. I’ve heard the N word more times than youcan imagine while on tour. I’ve heard the comments of “he’s one of the good ones”, “he’s not REALLY black because of the way talks”, “why aren’t there more like you?”, “are you the bus driver?”, “are you the truck driver?” and on and on and on even with me being the Tour Manager and / or Production Manager. It’s absolutely maddening, frustrating and demeaning.
CAA has been most gracious and encouraging with my career – especially the Nashville and LA offices. Rob Light, Brian Hill, Meredith Jones, Brett Steinberg, Rod Essig are just a few that I call friends. I’ve never felt that any tour I was on with their clients, that I was the token black person. They knew I could do the job and my race or gender shouldn’t matter. 

Lady Antebellum
John Davisson
– Lady Antebellum
MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, Fla.
I’ve participated in several webinars and podcasts as well as spoken at universities on the topic of our need for more diversity, not only for people of color but women as well and what you’re doing is a breath of fresh air in these trying times.
We’re not all perfect, you’re not going to get along with everyone and you’re not always going to change someone’s mind or position, but why can’t we all be a bit more open-minded, listen, learn and have an open dialogue? You just might come out of the conversation with a whole new perspective.
Lady A, you’ve made that very first important step and will forever have a long-time fan and friend with me.
Thanks for your time reading this and please hold you and yours tight during these trying times. We’ll get through it. We always do.
Best Regards,
David ‘5-1’ Norman

David ‘5-1’ Norman is a tour director, tour manager, production manager and tour accountant. More info is available at www.David51.com.

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